Tax Bill Passes. Drink Prices Rising.

In the Kentucky Senate, legislators just got the needed votes to pass the tax increase, which adds 30 cents to the price of a pack of cigarettes and 6 percent to the retail price of alcohol.

The C-J live blog says the 24th and clinching vote came at 11:02 from Sen. Ken Winters of Murray. Sen. Julie Denton of Louisville as among the few no votes, reasoning that the alcohol tax is unfair because it burdens only the counties that sell alcohol.

Reaction will be strong. Here’s a portion of a letter Indiana Rep. Baron Hill sent to the Brown-Forman Corp. this morning. (thanks to Francene!):

Frankly, I was perplexed to read media accounts of your company’s current struggle in Kentucky. While I would not presume to judge the actions of Kentucky state government, I will tell you as a lifelong Hoosier that Indiana values and promotes our signature home state businesses.

Let the backlash begin.

You’re in Luck – a Friday the 13th Edition

Happy Friday the 13th. The big news to most of us is the debate in Frankfort over the tax bill, which should be voted on in the Senate today.  That is, unless you’re one of the 2,700 LG&E customers STILL without power.

Tax Debate Live: I remember a time when those three words would have put me to sleep. But the C-J’s Stephanie Steitzer is live blogging from the Capitol as the Senate debates the tax measure.  [C-J]

Not A B-FF: Speaking of the tax plan, no one’s more pissed about the alcohol tax than Brown-Forman. They’ve got a Senior VP, Jim O’Malley, appearing on the Francene show. He’s responding to an overture from Indiana Rep. Baron Hill inviting the corporation to move across the Ohio. O’Malley said that’s not going to happen, but Frankfort’s politicians are not making friends.  “We are not feeling the love in Kentucky with the high spirits tax,” he said.

More B-F vs. Frankfort: An interesting exchange between the Brown-Forman CFO and Senate Budget Committee members yesterday provides proof that business guys are smarter than legislators.  Just read Hebert’s account. [WHAS-TV]

A Good Argument:  Bill Lamb does make sense sometimes. He’s arguing against including the alcohol tax and saying smokers are getting “kid glove treatment.” [Fox41]

And the Bulleit Bust: WLKY’s Jim Bulleit has a date in court today. His arraignment is scheduled for this morning in District Court.  Think anyone’s going to buy that whole “I forgot” excuse?

Lastly, More Fun with Jerry: We’ve got some new pictures and hilarious commentary from the Mayor’s speech Wednesday night at the Metro Dems meeting. [Page One]

Thursday Afternoon Dept. of Culture

It’s Our Fave Squeezeboxer: Check out this profile of Brigid Kaelin and you start to get an idea of how cool she is. And she lives in the neighborhood. We’re swooning. [ILIL]

Breakfast Anywhere But Especially Here: The new Esquire devotes 16 pages to the subject of the great morning meal. Included is the recipe for Jalapeno-and-Ancho Oatmeal from 610 Magnolia and a graph about Wagner’s ham and eggs. The C-J’s Katya Cengel gets in the credits. I’m jealous.

A Day Without Weather: Maybe the local TV stations should just give the weather guys the day off today. For those of you keeping score, Jay Cardosi stayed on the air longest with the big wind yesterday, going until almost 3. We’re giving Monty Webb a second place.

Logging Lincoln: Yep, lot of Lincoln-related remembrances reminders in the mailbox, and we know they’re releasing new pennies as part of his birthday celebration. But Jake’s got the best way to honor Abe on the Internets. [Page One]

Alert Webster’s: The new term is called “sexting.” Just heard Francene talking about this, and stories about teens sharing nude pics of themselves by text is all the rage. And they’re getting themselves arrested for it. [CBS]

Alcohol Tax Tiebreaker: Last chance for opponents of the revenue bill, which includes increased taxes on tobacco and alcohol, is in the full Senate tomorrow. A Senate panel barely approved moving it along this morning, 9-7. You can blame E-town’s Elizabeth Tori, who changed her vote from no to yes to break an 8-8 tie. [C-J]

Some Explaining To Do: New MC Prez David Tandy asked LG&E’s Vic Staffieri to come and talk at tonight’s Metro Council meeting. But Vic’s in Germany talking to the parent suits, so an LG&E VP will address the group.

Like We Care, But Still: They’re down to 36 American Idol finalists, and even though several auditioned here, no one still in it is even from Kentucky. So all those contestants, at least the good ones, were mainly people who travel the country to auditions. Don’t you feel cheated? [E!]

Octo-Photo: Strong stomach required to look at this. Really strong. [HuffPo]

Wendell Ford Dinner Tonight

Every Democrat with a hundred bucks to throw away on bad food and expensive, watered-down alcohol will be on-hand for the annual Wendell Ford Dinner in Louisville this evening.

We’ll be there. Will you?

If so, introduce yourself to us during the reception or stop by our table to say hello. That’s the best way to make sure we don’t write about your ugly dress or inability to sing. Heck, it’s the best way to make sure we don’t photograph you while you’re drunk and groping your server from behind.

Also, someone will need to give us several free drink tickets. We’ll trade for the less than mean things we’ve said lately. (Dale– you reading this? FREE DRINK TICKETS. Need them.)

Should be a great night of drama, attitude, social rifts, drunken flirting and laughter. If you have gossip? Seek us out tonight. We’ll be all ears and smiling so long as you don’t spill cheap bourbon on our shoes or try to get your greasy fingers on our tie.

To recap, there are a few ways to curry favor with us: Free drink tickets, gossip, free drink tickets, just introduce yourself (especially if you’re an elected who routinely avoids us/someone we say mean things about) and (this is important) tell us how skinny we’re looking these days.